The senators honored the life and legacy of the late Negros Occidental governor Alfredo Marañon Jr.
It was Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri who sponsored Senate Resolution No. 544 that was unanimously passed on Tuesday, October 13.
Zubiri, who traces his roots to Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, said he wanted to “honor my good friend and mentor” who recently passed away.
“He was a visionary who changed Negros. His agricultural and environmental initiatives for the province were groundbreaking,” the senator added.
Marañon, 84, passed away in a hospital in Bacolod City on October 1 due to complications associated with his cardiac health. He was governor from 2010 to 2019.
Zubiri said that under the leadership of the governor, there was substantial growth in organic agriculture across the province, providing livelihood to thousands of farmers, and he also took a hardline stance against coal and convert the province into renewable energy.
“It was during his stint as governor when Negros became the ‘Solar Power Capital of the Philippines,’” Zubiri said.
Marañon, a farmer and an engineer, started his public life in the 1960s when he first run as councilor. He later became a vice mayor then elected as mayor and congressman of his district. He was also an assemblyman of the province.
Among his notable accomplishments as a public servant was the establishment of the Sagay Marine Reserve, which covers 32,000 hectares of the Visayan Sea.
He also signed an executive order declaring Negros Occidental as “coal-free” and renewable energy province following the youth-led protest against the proposed coal-fired power plant in San Carlos City.
He also lobbied for the creation of the Negros Island Region, which integrated the two Negros provinces into one region. Former president Benigno Aquino ordered its creation in 2015, but was dissolved by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017.
Zubiri said that Marañon’s flagship programs introduced development in natural reosurces, economy, governance, poverty reduction, healthcare, education, food security, information and communications technology, infrastructure, social services, and tourism.
“He really turned Negros Occidental to a major ecotourism site, especially the Sagay Marine Reserve, which is possibly one of the most beautiful places in the country, with its pristine waters, white sand, and diverse aquatic life,” the senator added.
Both Marañon and Zubiri had served in the 11th Congress as representatives of the second district of Negros Occidental and the third district of Bukidnon, respectively.
“As a young environmentalist, I really looked up to him,” Zubiri said, “I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with him in our time as congressmen in the 11th Congress.”
He added, “and of course he was a brilliant governor, and he was really able to unite Negros, which was the key to the development of the province.”
Meanwhile, all senators were made co-authors of the resolution./MPE